It’s not just teenagers, college kids and adults on Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster. “Tweens,” and even younger kids, are curious about the social networking sites that they see their older siblings and parents participating in.
Facebook and MySpace require registered users to be at least 13 years old but we all know that it’s easy for a child to pretend to be older when they sign up for an account. Researchers have confirmed that a growing number of children are ignoring the age requirement – or using social networking sites designed for younger children.
In two surveys reported in 2009 by Pew Internet Research — of 700 and 935 teens, respectively – 38% of respondents ages 12 to 14 said they had an online profile on some website.
Sixty-one percent of those in the study, ages 12 to 17, said they use social-networking sites to send messages to friends, and 42% said they do so daily. The data in the study wa from 2006, so one can safely assume those numbers are higher in 2009.
Are children younger than 12 years old using social networking sites? “Of course they are,” said Amanda Lenhart, a researcher at Pew and one of the report’s authors. “They’re using them because that’s where their social world is. Because there’s no effective way to age-verify … children very quickly realize, ‘I just say I’m 14 years old, and they’ll let me use this.’ ”
Many parents also worry that younger users of social networking sites could be targets for online predators. While there are some concerns that kids aren’t mature enough to make good decisions about their privacy, most are savvy enough by their early teens to know what, and who, to avoid. Younger children need more parental supervision.
Alternately, a growing number of networking sites are geared specifically toward kids under 13. Sites such as Disney’s Club Penguin — mainly a game site, but with limited social functions — WebKinz and Whyville feature more restricted and supervised networking. These kids-oriented sites are in a ways a training ground for future use of mainstream social networks, such as MySpace and Facebook.
Did you know that there is a fast and easy way to find a friend’s profile on multiple social networking sites? With one click, U.S. Search search the most popular sites for you! US Search’s Social Network Search makes it easy to get in touch with friends, classmates and relatives. Run a search now! (Please note: US Search does not provide information on any individual under the age of 18 years old).
Social Site Links
|Badoo||Badoo is a worldwide online community that provides its members with the ability to communicate and share their lives with people both locally and around the globe. Its many features include the next generation in photo/video sharing and social networking. More importantly, though, Badoo allows its users to gain an instant mass audience for themselves and their work. One of Badoo’s greatest strengths lies in giving the user direct control over the size of their audience. With our patented system, members can activate features that instantly gain more exposure for their profile. We’ve added to that the ability for instant messaging, lightning quick uploads of photos/videos, and the transparency of being able to see who views your profile and individual albums.|
|Bebo||Bebo is a popular social networking site which connects you to everyone and everything you care about. It is your life online – a social experience that helps you discover what’s going on with your world and helps the world discover what’s going on with you. Bebo combines community, self-expression and entertainment, enabling you to consume, create, discover, curate and share digital content in entirely new ways. Bebo has sites all across the globe – US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India and the Netherlands.|
|BuddyFetch||Buddyfetch is a social search engine that allows you to connect with other people on the Internet based on their occupation, hobbies, interests and more. Instead of having you search thousands of social networks, IM networks, and dating sites, we do the work for you- including a Google gadget and Firefox add-on.
Buddyfetch has also included ‘buddy alerts’ where you can create a wish list of the people you would like to meet. Buddyfetch then searches and sends you an email or cell phone text message daily when we find them.
|CrushSpot||CrushSpot.com is an online social networking community website for meeting new people online, for platonic and/or romantic relationships. CrushSpot allows you to create a user profile where you can upload pictures and post a little or a lot about yourself. You can send members public messages on their message board or private messages in notes. CrushSpot users also receive a blog, or web log, short for online journal, where they can post their thoughts and opinions on things going on in their life or anything in general. There’s also a forum for public discussion on a variety of topics. Photo albums, Chat Rooms, and a site Instant Messenger are also in the works.|
Diaspora, the open source social network platform, released its code and opened up to private alpha invites recently. The platform was dubbed the alternative to Facebook, during Facebook’s privacy fiasco, and generated a lot of buzz. Diaspora lets you sort your connections into groups called aspects. Unique to Diaspora, aspects ensure that your photos, stories and jokes are shared only with the people you intend.
|Facebook is a free social networking utility that connects you with the people around you. Facebook allows you to upload photos or publish notes, get the latest news from your friends, post videos on your profile, tag your friends, use privacy settings to control who sees your info, join a network to see people who live, study, or work around you. Facebook is the most popular social networking website.|
|Google+||New on the list of social networking sites is Google+. Google+ makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world. Share your thoughts, links and photos with the right circles. Use easy, spontaneous video chat to strike up conversations with as many as nine people at once. Get everyone on the same page with fast, simple group chat. We’re very excited about the new approach to sharing we’ve created through Google+, but this is really just the beginning.|
|Hi5||Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, hi5 is one of the world’s largest social networks. Alexa ranks hi5 as a top 20 website globally, and as the #1 social network in over 30 countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
hi5 is the most globally diverse social networking site in the world, with over 80% of our users from outside the US. The hi5.com site was designed for this global audience from the beginning, and was the first in-language social networking site in many countries around the world.
|LinkedIn is a social networking website that allows you to find past and present colleagues and classmates quickly. LinkedIn makes staying in touch simple. It allows you to make inside connections when you’re looking for a job or new business opportunity.|
|MySpace||MySpace is an online social networking community that lets you meet your friends’ friends. Create a community on MySpace and you can share photos, journals and interests with your growing network of mutual friends! See who knows who, or how you are connected. MySpace is for everyone: Friends who want to talk Online, Single people who want to meet other Singles, Matchmakers who want to connect their friends with other friends, Families who want to keep in touch -map your Family Tree, Business people and co-workers interested in networking, Classmates and study partners. Anyone looking for long lost friends!|
|Nexopia||This social network website was designed initially as a way to fight back against his high school for banning floppy discs Ewalds quickly took advantage of his program’s potential to connect his friends online. Today, with over 1.2 million registered members and over a billion pages served per month, Nexopia continues to revolutionize the way young people connect online. Even while growing like wildfire Nexopia has managed to retain its rebellious roots and ultimately become the place to be for teens looking to express themselves to the world.|
|Orkut||Google’s original social networking site. Share with groups of friends, controlling who sees what. Chat, comment and talk with each group of your friends for a conversation you control. Share photos, videos and news. Join communities to discuss topics of your interest.|
|Skyrock||With the SkyRock social network website, you can stock unlimited photos, videos, and texts in your blog, make new friends and chat with peeps from around the world, check out tons of photos, videos, and profiles.|
|Tagged||Make a great profile that’s all about you. Find your friends and meet new people. Chat, flirt, photos, games, and more!|
|Twitteris a privately funded social networking website with offices in San Francisco, CA. Twitter started as a side project in March of 2006, Twitter has grown into a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.
In countries all around the world, people use Twitter to follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens – from breaking world news to updates from friends
|Xanga||Xanga is an online social networking website / community for you and your friends. With Xanga, you can easily start your own free weblog, share photos and videos, and meet new friends, too!|
|XING – The business network. Around the world every day, over 7 million business professionals use XING – the global business network – in 16 languages to do business and promote their career. XING makes networking and professional contact management simple, with made-to-measure networking functions and services. Even more, XING allows you to see how people are connected, which is an excellent tool in generating new contacts of your own.
With the XING Jobs portal, more than 26,000 expert groups and networking events from London to Beijing to New York, XING has evolved from a platform to a web interface for business professionals around the world.
|Yahoo 360||Yahoo 360 is an online social networking website / community that allows users to create, share photos, interests, and what matters to you. Allows you to control how your page looks, and who sees what. Keep up with the latest from all your friends.|